St. Matthias’ Day
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that
the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism
of John, unto the same day that He was taken up from us, must one be
ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. Acts i. 21,
~The Rev. John Keble
WHO is God’s chosen priest?
He, who on Christ stands waiting day and night,
Who traceth His holy steps, nor ever ceased,
From Jordan banks to Bethphage height:
Who hath learned lowliness
From his Lord’s cradle, patience from His Cross;
Whom poor men’s eyes and hearts consent to bless;
To whom, for Christ, the world is loss;
Who both in agony
Hath seen Him and in glory; and in both
Owned Him divine, and yielded, nothing loth,
Body and soul, to live and die,
In witness of his Lord,
In humble following of his Saviour dear:
This is the man to wield th’ unearthly sword,
Warring unharmed with sin and fear.
But who can o’er suffice—
What mortal—for this more than angels’ task,
Winning or losing souls, Thy life-blood’s price?
The gift were too divine to ask.
But Thou hast made it sure
By Thy dear promise to thy Church and Bride,
That Thou, on earth, wouldst aye with her endure,
Till earth to Heaven be purified.
Thou art her only spouse,
Whose arm supports her, on Whose faithful breast
Her persecuted head she meekly bows,
Sure pledge of her eternal rest.
Thou, her unerring guide,
Stayest her fainting steps along the wild;
Thy merit is on the bowers of lust and pride,
That she may pass them undefiled.
Who then, uncalled by Thee,
Dare touch Thy spouse, Thy very self below?
Or who dare count him summoned worthily,
Except Thine hand and seal he show?
Where can Thy seal be found,
But on thou chosen seed, from age to age
By thine anointed heralds duly crowned,
As kings and priests Thy war to wage?
Then fearless walk we forth,
Yet full of trembling, Messengers of God:
Our warrant sure, but doubting of our worth,
By our own shame alike and glory awed.
Dread Searcher of the hearts,
Thou who didst seal by Thy descending Dove
Thy servant’s choice, O help us in our parts,
Else helpless found, to learn and teach Thy love.